paternity leave for dads

Cynthia - posted on 05/31/2011 ( 46 moms have responded )

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Do you think dads should take paternity leave from work? for how long? should this time be paid?

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Jenni - posted on 06/01/2011

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In Canada we have parental benefits and both mat and pat leave. Benefits are payable for a max of 35 weeks when you and your partner share benefits.



@Mary

Benefits come from our EI insurance which we pay into our whole working lives. So no, we are not taking it away from the needy. :/ It is *OUR* money, subtracted from every paycheck we earn. The government doesn't pay the bill it is publically funded just like a portion of our HC.



In Canada, parental leave is a right. It is not up for the employer to decide.



It is true, not all families can afford it. You only receive 55% of your reg earnings but the option is there.

Kimberly - posted on 05/31/2011

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Adoptive parents are actually entitled to exactly the same maternity/paternity rights in the UK as birth mothers/fathers...again...the US needs to get with the times...

[deleted account]

DADs are not appreciated enough!!! If the father is a good enough man to stick around and want their baby they should get the same amount of time! My father works for the state of Maine and for his youngest 3 children he got 3 weeks off for each and the last one was adopted (she is now 12). Fathers go through the motions with their partners they feel the joy and anguish as a mother does through out pregnancy and birth, they gain weight and have cravings, they have strange dreams, hopes and fears. It is purely ignorant to think a father should not be allowed the same leave time as the mother. I don't think this issue is even debatable yes they should hands down no questions asked. I didn't have any support through out or after even though he was there and didn't even work! What I would have given to have had children with a decent man and had the opportunity to have shared with him those precious first months. Kudos to all the dads out there who love and support their children and partners.

Isobel - posted on 06/01/2011

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and yes...it is a right only in the fact that your employer can do nothing about it...they're not even allowed to call you to ask if you might be coming back soon.

[deleted account]

Well, Mary -- I sort of agree that parental leave isn't really a right, but then by that thinking, neither is maternity leave in Canada because it's based off the same principles, and calculated the same way. Do I make sense?



Also, I'm pretty sure Canada's RCMP offer a full year of parental leave ON TOP OF maternity leave. I know a cop who took the year off AFTER his wife had gone back to work after her year off.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/07/2012

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If you work in the US, they can't deny FMLA leave, Sherri. It's federal. and an emplyer cannot deny FMLA leave for a father.

Financial circumstances are an entirely different thing. I was just mentioning that, in the US, YES, men can take paternity leave, and if all else fails they can do it under FMLA. ;-)

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 05/07/2012

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I know this is after the fact, but Kimberly, you should have applied for FMLA. up to 12 weeks for paternity leave. My husband took it with both of our boys

Happy - posted on 05/07/2012

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My husvand is currently on paternity leave, our youngest LO born 5/2. He will take 4 weeks but is eligible, under FMLA for 12. All of it will be paid as he will be using saved up sick/vacation pay. He may or may not be benfitting from it but I know the kiddos and I are benifitting from it! I need him home right now. I would NOT want to do this w/o him.

Tasha - posted on 06/02/2011

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Yes, i think it helps the father bond with the new baby at an important time, and hopefully helps mom with some help after delivery. Based on what weenies men turn into when they get sick, theyd never make it through postpardom without an army of help. Im super luck and my husband took a month off, paid, after my son was born. He got up with him, brought him to me, let me stay in bed, brought me food, water, im ready for another one for the royal treatment afterward, and another amazing miracle of course. I think it helps them feel more attatched and useful too.

Isobel - posted on 06/02/2011

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I assume you didn't sue cause that would be ridiculous...but you could've.

Chris - posted on 06/01/2011

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depends if it's needed. It was nice that my hubby could take about 2 days off so he was there for me friday - monday. Much more than that unless you in and out of the hospital isn't really nessisary all me and my daughter did was sleep. My hubby took a week of with my first and got to spend it gaming (cuz he wasn't needed for anything else) It would be nice if it was paid (his was because he used vacation time :) but I think if to much of it was paid then it was get abused. It really depends on the situation.

Isobel - posted on 06/01/2011

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I haven't finished reading yet but...What happened with me is that my kids were too close together for me to get my hours in and I didn't qualify for mat leave with the second. I was really glad that my ex was able to qualify for the parental portion and ONE of us could get paid leave to stay home with our two babies.

Jenni - posted on 06/01/2011

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Since I'm the one that said it was a 'right'. I was specifically refering to an employer having no say in whether or not a father takes pat leave. Everyone with enough insurable hours in a 52 week period qualifies. The employer has no say in the amount of time an employee takes for pat/mat leave. That's what I meant by it being a right for 'most' employees.

I'm not exactly sure how it works anywhere else but I was under the impression that it was up to the employer to decide in some countries.

Kimberly - posted on 06/01/2011

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Absolutely. 2-3 weeks paid time off would be wonderful for all fathers. My husband works for a small company and his boss was kind and generous enough to grant him this after our daughter's birth. It was so wonderful to have him with me during that time.

Rosie - posted on 06/01/2011

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yes i think they should, and they can and don't untilize it as much as they should IMO. i know of ONE man who took off the full 12 weeks he was allotted (unpaid). his wife took her 12 weeks and then she went back to work and he took his 12 weeks after that. i found it very admirable, and he has a great bond with his daughter, and probably a better understanding of what his wife does.
should it be paid? i think all maternity, paternity leave should be paid by the employer, i think it would make for a more productive employee overall if they didn't have to worry about daycare and stuff during those first few months.

Mary - posted on 06/01/2011

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Jenn, my point wasn't really to fault the EI system; I just disagree that it makes parental leave an inalienable "right". It certainly helps - I won't disagree with that. For me, the only thing that allowed me to stay home for 14 weeks (and to become a SAHM for this current year, from 2-3) is my own personal savings. That would have been true had I lived in Canada as well. Truth is, I had job with good benefits (including STD) as well as a boatload of vacation time. Had I merely been receiving 55% of my pay, without any personal savings, I would have been back to work at 6 weeks in order to make ends meet.

Mothers and fathers in the US do, with FMLA, have the "right" to say home for 12 weeks with the birth of a child. How they afford it is up to each individual.

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

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Mary - that's not the system's fault, that's the fault of the individual. Much like myself, we couldn't afford for him to take time off, although he had the right to do so. It is your right, if you can afford it. Financial experts would tell you to start saving money up before you get pregnant so that you can afford it - but I think we all know that's not always realistic. The fact of the matter is, parental leave for Mom and/or Dad just isn't a possibility for everyone.

Kimberly - posted on 06/01/2011

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Mary, I understand what you're saying about the government funding it, but who's to say it has to come from money allocated to the homeless or another worthy cause? Why can't it come from the outrageous expenses we allow our politicians to make? Well I already know the answer to that, but I'm just saying, the UK and Canada don't take maternity/paternity pay away from those areas, so I'm sure the US could find a way to make it work as well.

Also, why aren't the companies paying for it?? In one of my earlier posts I said my husband's company paid for his first 2 weeks paternity leave (full pay) and then he was allowed 2 more weeks statutory paternity pay (about 120GBP a week) that would have been paid by the government. As we could not afford that he only took the first 2 weeks full pay from his company. My company on the other hand paid me in full for the first 6 weeks of my maternity and then I was given statutory pay for the next 6 months. My SIL who just had a baby was given 6 months FULL pay from her company, then she's entitled to 3 months statutory pay from the government. While her husband is self employed so he's working from home now to help her out. In the UK the companies are shelling out the money, I don't see why that can't be the case in the US. Especially as my husband is working for the exact same company he worked for in the UK, we just now live in the US and he's working in their US office, but when we have our next child he'll get nothing from them. Tell me how that works? I do understand that smaller companies may not be able to afford this, but I still think it this country needs to figure out a way to find a better solution. I personally don't think my husband should have to save up/use all his vacation days to have a baby.

Mary - posted on 06/01/2011

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Kimberly, it's not that I think a father shouldn't get a week or two off - I just don't think, in comparison to many of the other needs of the citizens of this country have (such as food and shelter) that the government needs to be funding it. And, the husband does have the option of using FMLA - it just isn't paid (unless, like Sara's hubby, you utilize sick and vacation time).

And to Jennifer and Krista - it's not that I don't like the idea of your EI system as it pertains to paternal leave - it's just that I think it's a stretch to say that Canada ensures paternal leave as a "right". I'm pretty sure that, with your system, I would have been forced back to work much sooner than I did here. My hubby was laid off a little over a month before she was born. He found another job about 2 weeks before I delivered, but it wasn't even half of what he had been making before. Luckily, I did get 80% of my pay for those first 8 weeks, and I had enough paid time off to cover another 4 weeks. I stayed home two weeks without pay, I had to dip into my savings account for that. Honestly, with J's reduction in income, me staying home for year at 55% of my salary would not have been doable. There is simply no way that would have covered our most basic expenses, unless I completely depleted my savings. So, if I lived in your country, the only way I could have had that "right" (without losing my home or car) would have been to empty out my savings accounts, and most likely be in debt. And - chances are, my savings would have been a bit less than it was, because I would have been counting on that EI to cover me.

Sara - posted on 06/01/2011

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My husband used FMLA for 3 weeks when our daughter was born. Honestly, I felt I needed his help to adjust to caring for an infant. With this next baby, he's planning on taking 3 to 4 weeks off under FMLA to help. He uses his sick/vacation time to cover it, so it's paid time off.

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

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In Canada you can share the parental leave with the father if you choose to - so he would get paid 55% of his wages during that time. I think if it's what you want to do and can afford it, then go for it. For us that just wasn't in the cards. The only day he took off was when I went in to deliver the twins.

Krista - posted on 06/01/2011

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Yeah, that DOES suck, Heather, that there is no provision for students. There should be, really, especially if they had been paying into EI prior to attending school.

Lady Heather - posted on 06/01/2011

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Having seen what my sister has been through, parental leave is most definitely NOT a right here in Canada. It's a bonus that some families get to enjoy. My poor sister worked her whole damn life, took a year off to do her masters (during which time she worked as an RA but the uni didn't contribute to EI because that negates student scholarships for some reason) and then she gets pregnant. Gets a job, but can't get all her hours in before she winds up on bedrest. No leave.

No, it's just a bonus. And it's nice that we are given the opportunity in this country to collect on that payment into EI if we can. But she didn't even get any pay. Nada. Not 1 day. I mostly like our system, but it doesn't always work very well. I do support the split parental leave option though because some dads are going to be the primary caregivers, so that just makes sense.

Kimberly - posted on 06/01/2011

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So where do you draw the line on the complications? I don't think I was more worthy of having my husband home than a woman who had no complications. It's about support as well. Breastfeeding hurt like a fucking bitch! If I was alone in the house without my husband sitting next to me, holding my hand, and telling me what a good job I was doing I may have given up.

If you had read my post fully you'd have seen I also said it's not about the mom's needs all the time either. My husband was very hands-on. He got up with every feed in the night, he changed diapers, he did bath time, he was just as exhausted as I was. Why should I get all the time off? I'm not saying both mother and father should get 6 months or a year or whatever, but what's two-four weeks paternity leave going to hurt? Most European countries and Canada seem to have worked it out, I just don't see why the US is so behind in paternal rights.

Jenni - posted on 06/01/2011

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Ahhh Krista, you got to it before me. I was going to say how easy it was to qualify. But a more detailed response than I would have given. ;)

Mary - posted on 06/01/2011

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Kimberly, if you had fully read my first post, you would have noticed that I said "...but honestly, unless there is some complication, most mothers are capable of caring for that infant without their partner being home 24/7." A situation such as yours would fall under that "complication".

And Krista, I can't definitively answer for all STD policies, but the majority of them do cover childbirth as a valid reason for being unable to work. Mine covered 8 weeks at 80% of my pay, and STD was something I did not have to pay into monthly. Had I chosen it, I could have gotten additional coverage through an independent provider of STD that would have brought me up to 100% of my for those 1st 8 weeks, and then paid 75% for an additional 4 weeks.

Krista - posted on 06/01/2011

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And the first 17 weeks of leave are "maternal", i.e. for the mother. After that, the remaining 35 weeks are "parental", which means that either parent can take that time. But, they have to share that 35 weeks. They don't EACH get 35 weeks.

So for example, if Keith and I had both wanted (and financially been able to) stay home with Sam, I could have had my 17 weeks of mat leave, and then Keith and I could have each taken 17 weeks of parental leave together.

Or, in my real case, I went back to work after 8 months. Keith could have used up the remainder of the parental leave, if we had been so inclined.

EI is basically just an insurance policy. The only difference is that it's mandatory, not optional, and it's administered by the government, not a private insurer.

Krista - posted on 06/01/2011

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That's correct, Mary. But the requirements aren't that hard to meet. Basically, you have to have worked 600 hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim. So even if someone only works part-time, 15 hours a week, they would have enough hours for EI after 40 weeks.

From Service Canada: The basic benefit rate is 55% of your average insured earnings up to a yearly maximum insurable amount of $44,200. This means you can receive a maximum payment of $468 per week. Your EI payment is a taxable income, meaning federal and provincial or territorial, if it applies, taxes will be deducted.

You could receive a higher benefit rate if you are in a low-income family — an income of less than $25,921— with children and you or your spouse receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) , you are entitled to the Family Supplement.


About the Family Supplement: The Family Supplement rate is based on :

your family net income up to a maximum of $25,921 per year; and
the number of children in the family and their ages.

The maximum Family Supplement will reach as high as 80% of your average insurable earnings.


This is in addition to the Canada Child Tax Benefit, and the Universal Child Care Benefit, which we ALL get, regardless of employment status. Right now, those two benefits give me $183.50 a month. No, it's not much, but it pays for almost half a month's daycare. So it helps.

So if you're low-income, you would get a higher percentage of your earnings.

Sure, there will still be some families who cannot afford for one parent to be off for a year. But it is definitely better than nothing.

I'm wondering regarding your comment about short-term disability -- would an insurer consider having had a baby as a valid reason to be physically unable to work? Especially after a few weeks have passed?

Kimberly - posted on 06/01/2011

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@Sarah, I think it depends on where your husband works in the UK. My husband got 2 weeks full pay paternity leave and then was able to take 2 more weeks statutory paternity pay at the same rate I was given for 6 months (about 120GBP per week) and since we couldn't afford for him to do that he just took the 2 weeks at full pay.

and Mary...of course one parent is perfectly capable of taking care of the baby on their own, but why do you think that the father has less a right to properly meet his child and help his wife while she's healing from childbirth. I was in labor for 30 hours, pushed for over 2 hours, had 3rd degree tears AND had to be cut, then lost a shit ton of blood, passed out, had to be brought back, hooked up to an IV, became anemic, and passed blood clots the size of my baby for a week after her birth...but according to you DH should have gone straight back to work and I was to take care of my infant on my own...

Mary - posted on 06/01/2011

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But, Jennifer, from what I understand, you do need to meet certain requirements in order for EI to apply, correct? Several people on CoM's have made mention of the fact that either they, or someone they know did not qualify for EI because they hadn't worked a certain number of hours. So, in essence, paternity leave is only a right if you meet certain employment requirements, and if you can afford to live off of half of your normal earnings.

I think what most Americans forget is that we do have something in the private sector that is pretty similar - short term disablity. WHile many employers offer it as an optional part of the benefits package, you can also obtain it independently....you just have to have the foresight and discipline to do so.

Minnie - posted on 06/01/2011

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My husband got 12 weeks paternity. On salary. We loved it- took a month-long trip to FL when Adelaide was three weeks old.

Mary - posted on 06/01/2011

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Ok, yes, in a Utopian world, both mothers and fathers alike would be able to take off a significant amount of time to bond with child, and all of our governments would foot the bill. However, that is not really very practical, now is it? I think most employers are pretty flexible about allowing expectant fathers to take a week or so of vacation time when their wife delivers...but honestly, unless there is some complication, most mothers are capable of caring for that infant without their partner being home 24/7. One parent being home is a reasonable expectation, but two....a luxury that you need to be able to foot the bill for on your own.


I realize that parental leave policies vary widely from country to country. Some are admittedly better, or more generous than others. But until we reach point where each of individual countries is rid of things such as homelessness, destitute poverty, and hunger among all of it's citizens, I think paid parental leave for both parents is a bit extravagant, and money that is more desperately needed towards meeting the basic needs of others.

Charlie - posted on 06/01/2011

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Yes if they wish to , I think it should be paid for one parent , who ? is up to the parents .
Daddy's need bonding time too , Jamie took a month off work to get to know his sons and help around the house , for how long really depends on each individual and their finances .

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2011

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I'm in the UK, and while Dad's can have 2 weeks Paternity Leave, it's at a REALLY low rate of pay. We simply could not afford for my husband to take it. I think that's a problem for quite a few men here.

My husband took some holiday around the times I was due but I know with my youngest being 2 weeks over due, he was home while I was pregnant rather than after the baby was born! lol

In answer to the question, yes, I think Dad's should get some Paternity Leave, but I also think that they should get a reasonable amount of money during it, else many men can't use it anyway!

Becky - posted on 05/31/2011

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If the father is eligible for it and it is what the family wants, then sure! Jeff was never eligible for it because he's self-employed, but he always takes some vacation time when I have a baby, to help out and to bond with the baby.
Like Heather said, in Canada, they can take paid paternity leave. It decreases the mother's time, but if she wants to return to work earlier, I think it is a great option.

Amber - posted on 05/31/2011

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I love the concept of paternity leave! Dad's deserve bonding time with their children too.

My SO took time off after our son was born (two weeks). He was scheduled off later, but the other doctors covered his shifts because our son was so early. He worked the scheduled time off instead.

Full time for him is only three 12 hour shifts a week, so he was home with us four days every week. He did all of his office hours from home too.

He didn't get paid, but his work doesn't get paid time off. The physicians group was given the option to give up all paid time off and OT to get a 25% pay raise; they voted for the raise. So, our situation is a little weird, but it works well for us.

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I don't care if dads take paternity leave or not. HOWEVER, No one should get paid unless they have PTO or vacation time.

Lady Heather - posted on 05/31/2011

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Here we have parental leave. So women get to claim time after the baby is born and then the remaining time can be used by one parent or the other or split. My sister's husband took two months pat leave and it's a good thing because they ended up denying my sister's claim (she had to leave work early due to a medical issue and was FIVE hours short). But this is all covered by the government through our EI payments.

Constance - posted on 05/31/2011

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In general I know that companies are not required to give any time off. I guess I have been kinda lucky because my husband has always been able to get at least 2 wks. When he was active duty he got 2 wks of course with pay and his other company he was able to get 2 wks with pay but he also worked from home. I do think men should be able to take time and stay home without a big fuss. As far as pay even with maternity leave there is no guarantee to be paid. Even though we should get paid.

[deleted account]

My husband simply took FMLA immediately following my son's birth, paid, for about 3 weeks. I think it was out of his vacation accrued time. Then when I returned to work when my son was 5 months old, my husband took more FMLA/vacation time for another 3 weeks. So those were his 6 weeks, split into 2 different time frames.

Kimberly - posted on 05/31/2011

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In most European countries men get some amount of paternity leave. The amount of time differs by country. I believe Sweden has the best maternity/paternity laws. I had my daughter in the UK (I'm American) and my husband was given 2 weeks paternity leave while I was given 1 year (6 weeks full pay, 9 months statutory pay - about 120GBP per week, then the last bit no pay) They're talking about giving father's more paternity leave there though. A woman is entitled to a full year of maternity leave and what the UK wants to do is allow the mother and father to split the leave as they like. If the mother takes the first 6 months off, the father can take the next 6 months off or whatever they chose.

Now we're living in the US and my husband will get NO paternity leave when we have our next child. (He works for the SAME company he worked for in the UK, we just transfered to their US location) DH is going to save up his vacation days for when we have our next child because after the birth of our daughter he said there was no way in hell he'd have survived the first two weeks back at work without having time off. Personally, I feel like the father should get at least a month of paid paternity leave. Think about it, you didn't make that baby alone, you need help! I had stitches after having my daughter and could barely go to the bathroom on my own, let alone sit down holding my daughter to breast feed her. I NEEDED my husband those first two weeks while I healed. I can't imagine having a C-section and not having my husband around to help me while I healed...that would be outrageous!! We were both sleep deprived, and while I got to sleep while my baby slept, my poor husband had to go to work. All of my husband's coworkers said he looked like death for the first 6 months :P

I think the US needs to get with the times. Longer maternity leave DEFINITELY and at the very least 2 weeks paternity leave paid!!

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